O’Donnell Plans Fall Hearing on Mental Health in Prisons, Continues to Pursue Aggressive Measures to Reform NYS Correctional System

Today, continuing his efforts to reform New York State’s correctional system, Assembly Member O’Donnell announced his plan to convene an investigatory hearing this fall on mental health in state and city correctional facilities. Assembly O’Donnell said:

This week, I visited my 20th New York State correctional facility. While each prison has its own challenges, many issues reappear again and again on my visits, and are corroborated by increasingly frequent and disturbing reports of the abuse of mentally ill, young, and otherwise vulnerable inmates. It is clear that the current system is particularly harsh to inmates with mental illness, who are frequently insufficiently treated, and often not well understood. New York State prisons have one of the highest rates of suicide in the country. At this fall’s hearing I plan to seek information about the current state of mental health in our prisons, and allow Assembly Members to probe the weaknesses of the current system, as well as lapses which have led to tragedies.

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Thursday visit to Attica Correctional Facility marked his 20th prison visit as Chair of the Corrections Committee. On September 13th, he spoke on a panel discussing Attica at the Brooklyn Museum. The upcoming hearing date has not been finalized at this time.